Who’s the Best VPN Provider for Your Business?
In today’s interconnected world, with the internet permeating every aspect of our lives, it is difficult to maintain your personal security. Cyber criminals work hard everyday to gain access to your bank accounts and your email, steal your identity, install ransomware or crypto jacking software on your computer. And if protecting yourself is hard, then protecting an entire company is a pure nightmare. If you run a business, any indiscreet or negligent action on the part of any of your employees can endanger your entire network.
So how can a business use the advantages of the internet while staying reasonably safe? One answer is a VPN.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) lets you use a secure connection between the internet and your computer, effectively extending the functionality of your company’s private network over public networks. It offers a number of advantages, concealing your real location and IP address, providing access to geographically locked websites and securely connecting devices via the public network.
However, not all VPNs are created equal. If you really care about your company’s security, you should approach the choice of a provider as meticulously as you choose your bank – and this article will help you do it.
1. Don’t use free VPNs
The question of price is, naturally, one of the first that concerns any business. Unfortunately, many company owners believe that they either don’t need protection at all, or that a free VPN is enough for their purposes. However, this is not the best area to try and save money – after all, when you use VPN, the most important thing is not how much you pay but how effective it is in achieving its intended purpose. And free VPNs just aren’t going to cut it. You should remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch – if you don’t pay money, you pay in some other way. In the case of VPNs, it is most likely through your traffic data being sold to third parties – which means that they do not just fail to do their work but make matters worse.
2. Check if a VPN keeps traffic logs
One of the primary reasons why you want to use a VPN is to ensure that no one is tracking your traffic or collecting data about your business. A VPN that keeps traffic logs of its clients defeats its purpose – nobody can guarantee that these logs aren’t handed over, sold or stolen. Unfortunately, there isn’t a surefire method of checking if a VPN keeps logs – the best method you can use to find a reliable VPN is to read reviews on trustworthy websites.
3. Take data capacity into account
Some VPN providers provide unlimited data capacity, which means that you can use them as much as you want. Others offer their subscriptions in a number of packages, with capacity getting higher along with the price. Get a rough estimate of how much traffic you are going to use and choose respectively – the last thing you want is to exceed your limit when you need the service the most.
Make sure you carefully read the terms of service to check if the provider limits the bandwidth – if you are going to use many connections at any given moment, it can drastically decrease their speed. Finding out the number of servers the provider has is also a good idea.
4. What security protocols does it use?
VPNs use different security protocols to protect your data, and these protocols don’t offer the same degree of protection. Without getting too technical, here is what you need to know.
In the past, the most popular one was PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), but today it is considered to be one of the most vulnerable variants. Try finding a provider offering OpenVPN and/or L2TP/IPSec. OpenVPN is often cited as an optimal choice, but many smartphones and tablets don’t support it. If you intend to use mobile devices widely, you may want to choose L2TP/IPSec instead. It is a good sign if a provider offers both. SSTP is another protocol that deserves your attention, as it also provides decent security.
5. Beware of VPNs that advertise fake server locations
Quite often when a VPN claims to have servers in this or that country, it means that it is a virtual location, and the real server is elsewhere. This can cause a number of problems if you try to use it: the server may turn out to be located exactly in the country you want to avoid, it won’t be able to circumvent regional locks and censorship, it may cause you to use wrong settings if you try to optimize your VPN performance, and so on. In general, if a provider lies to its clients, it’s already untrustworthy.
6. Anti-malware and anti-spyware scanners
Using a VPN doesn’t mean that you are protected from everything you may encounter on the internet. If you download malware, your computer (and potentially the entire network) will be infected just as if you weren’t subscribed to a VPN. On the one hand, it means that you have to be careful. On the other hand, you may want to look for a provider that bundled anti-malware protection together with VPN functionality. While it is probably not significant enough to choose a provider for this reason alone, it can be a pleasant addition to other functions.
7. Mobile Apps
When choosing a provider, you should be sure that you aren’t going to have two separate apps for your desktop and mobile devices. Most high-quality providers offer both solutions for individual users; corporate providers are a little bit less flexible, so make sure to study this point.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that you shouldn’t take for granted what a provider says about itself. Look for detailed articles by reliable sources rather than short user testimonials – they are much more likely to provide relevant information on the true functionality of this or that provider.
Suggested further reading: Hotspot and WiFi Safety Tips for Entrepreneurs
I graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays I am an entrepreneur and independent journalist. My sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented in the sphere of education. I have written approximately 2000 articles covering mentioned subjects. Two years ago, I founded a startup dedicated to e-education that aggregates and presents in convenient way information concerning possibilities to study all over the web. Furthermore, it offers several exclusive free courses. Before, I used to work as a Marketing Manager for 4 years in big US IT company. Last two years I was working in Google as a Business Associate.Read Full Bio